skip to primary navigationskip to content

Why music at Cambridge?

A course offering breadth and depth

Our undergraduate programme gives you an exceptionally solid foundation in the Western classical tradition, but you will also find courses in jazz, popular music and world music. The first year provides a broadly-based introduction to the subject, while the second and third years offer increasing opportunities for specialism, including substantial self-directed projects such as dissertations and composition portfolios.

Among the best music facilities in the country

As a music student at Cambridge, you will have access to a fully professional concert hall, a music library, and the Centre for Music and Science with its purpose-built studio and music computing facilities. Period instruments and a Javanese gamelan are available for student use. All this is complemented by the libraries, practice rooms and other facilities available in colleges, as well as by the University library—one of the world’s great libraries, housing over seven million volumes.

The Cambridge Collegiate teaching system

The college system means that you receive two complementary kinds of teaching: lectures and seminars by world-leading experts in the Faculty of Music, and small-group supervision within your college.

The vibrant Cambridge music and performing arts scene

Cambridge is home to a diverse and rich music scene which caters for music making at all levels.

As a performer…

In addition to our professional concert series, we host a number of resident ensembles: the Endellion String Quartet, Britten Sinfonia and the Academy of Ancient Music not only perform regularly but also offer masterclasses and composition workshops for students. Within the Faculty, performance opportunities range from our Collegium Musicum (a period-instrument ensemble), New Music Ensemble and Handel Opera Group to the Gamelan orchestra. At college level, much of the musical activity centres on the Chapel choirs; these range from world-famous, quasi-professional ensembles directed by conductors with international reputations to much less ambitious groups led by students. Instrumental music is also well served: CUMS (the Cambridge University Music Society) works with conductors of the calibre of Sir Roger Norrington and composers such as Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, while CUCO (the Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra) also performs regularly with well-known guest conductors.

Most of all it is the wealth of student-led music making that makes Cambridge so special. There are more than 30 university music societies to join, including chamber music groups, opera, music theatre, jazz and world music societies, not to mention the various college societies. The result is one of the most vibrant musical environments in the world. In short, there are performing opportunities for everyone and in the unlikely event that the type of music you want to play isn’t already happening at Cambridge, you can always set up a group yourself!

Find out more about Studying Performance at Cambridge.

As a composer and producer…

There are numerous opportunities for composers to promote their work. Besides the opportunity to study composition as part of the degree programme, the Faculty puts on workshops with visiting composers, hosts an annual study day with members of the Britten Sinfonia and supports the Cambridge University New Music Ensemble, which performs contemporary works by students and established composers. In association with the Faculty, Kettle’s Yard also promotes new composition by students and supports a New Music Associate who routinely works with student composers.

Composers and producers also benefit from access to a recording studio comprising a state-of-the-art control room and an acoustically treated recording room. High-powered computers run a wide range of music production software, including Digidesign Pro Tools and Sadie 5. Sessions introducing studio techniques are held periodically for those interested, and everyone has the opportunity to record their performances in the West Road Concert Hall.

Find out more about Studying Composition at Cambridge.

As a music enthusiast…

The Faculty has an active outreach programme which covers everything from week-long higher education summer schools to music-making of many different types in the community. CaMEO (Cambridge Music Education Outreach Group) offers volunteering opportunities so you can share your talent with the public and develop yet another skill to add to your ever-improving CV. Examples of just some of the projects you could get involved with include performing in local schools and hospitals, taking practical music-making workshops out to schools and community groups, tea dances for the elderly and GCSE composition master classes.

Study Music at Cambridge